Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by © Brian Ecott


  February 2017


Looking for a sunny day 

Early Peacock butterfly 8th February 2017 Photo © Martin Bell at Foxburrows Farm Cottages.

Jewels on a Spiders web

This lovely picture was taken on 1st February 2017. © Colin Carron


Willow bracket Phellinus igniarius on old willow on former farm pond,  alongside 2nd car park, 6th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

This old gnarled willow near the 2nd car park is one of several in a slight depression which marks the position of the former Foxburrows Farm Pond.6th February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Velvet shank Flammulina velutipes on old willow on former farm pond,  alongside 2nd car park, 6th February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small

Common Jellyspot Dacrymyces stillatus on rotting stump, back of lake,  Photo © Raymond Small. 2nd February 2017.

Raymond Small has captured the hairy surface of this fungus known as the Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum on an old log.

1st February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Left: Beech Barkspot Diatrype disciformis. on beech twig, roughly normal size. The enlargement above show the fungus bursting through the thin bark leaving flaps of tissue. 13th February 2017. Woodland on  the  golf course, Hoghill. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Beech tarcrust Biscogniauxia nummularia on dead beech. Dog kennel hill, 13th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. Beech woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme on dead beech. Dog Kennel hill.     13th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
This amazing photo shows Boot lace aka Honey fungus Armillaria mellea (inset). The fungus spreads by long black cords, resembling boot-laces. These spread under bark, in roots and underground large distances to infect other trees. The width of the larger "laces" is 1 cm. and with the interconnecting laces gives the appearance of a major communications centre. Honey fungus is the scourge of foresters. 13th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
On cleared woodland near Sheepwater and growing on old bramble stems.17th is Scarlet Elfcap Sarcoscypha austriaca, February 2017.Photo © Brian Ecott

Cramp balls aka King Alfred's cakes aka Coal fungus Daldinia concentrica on Ash logs near Sheepwater. Cut open they show concentric rings of silver and black. Cramp balls are exclusive to Ash trees. It is said that at one time men used to carry one in their pocket to prevent cramp. I might try one in my pyjamas to see if it cures night cramp! 17th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott



Grey poplars Populus x canescens. A hybrid of White poplar and Aspen, by the café has a rough bark at the base but changes to a smooth silver bark with diamond shaped fissures.

21st February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Common alder catkins shedding pollen. The red flowers above are the female flowers which receive the pollen and will form the cone-like structures and will release the seeds in the autumn. 21st February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott  

Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Cones 20th February 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott. The three pronged bracts on the cone distinguish

 this tree from all other conifers.

Only one tree amongst a stand of Black pines Pinus nigra

on the old reservoir site

Black pine Pinus nigra cones on the old reservoir site.. The cones appear to have a flat side and a rounded side. 27th February 2017. Scan © Brian Ecott


Above - Part of a stand of Black pines. The tree in the centre is a single Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Photo © Raymond Small. 20th February 2017. Most of the trees here are covered in ivy which gives a good cover for wintering and early nesting birds.

Small branch tip of Douglas fir above. Lower are two needles 1.5 cms long, slightly silvery underneath. When removed from the branch the needle shows only a small  point of attachment - right.

Scans © Brian Ecott 27th February 2017


Soredia are common  reproductive structures of lichens. Lichens reproduce asexually by employing simple fragmentation and production of soredia and isidia. Soredia are powdery propagules composed of fungal hyphae wrapped around cyanobacteria or green algae. Fungal hyphae make up the basic body structure of lichen. - Wikipedia

Many of the lichen photos shown below have soredia.  
Parmelia sulcata on a hawthorn branch. (8 cms width) The whole lichen is covered in a fine white network on which soredia develop. Photo © Raymond Small. 6th February 2017. 
Parmelia perlata on a hawthorn branch (5 cms width). The lobe edges at the top left of the picture and elsewhere are covered in a fine dust. These microscopic structures are known as soredia.  Photo © Brian Ecott. 25th February 2017.

Physcia tenella on hawthorn twig. (2 cms width) Tips of lobes split and fold back to reveal soredia. Scan © Brian Ecott 25th February 2017. 

Physcia adscendens on hawthorn twig. (2 cms width) Tips of lobes are hooded then split to reveal soredia. Scan © Brian Ecott 25th February 2017.   

Physcia tenella and Physcia adscendens cover much of the hawthorn bushes and are easily visible before the leaves appear.

Physcia aipolia on hawthorn twig, hedge 2nd car park. Blue-grey lobes. Fruiting bodies black with blue-grey edge. (Width of this lichen 1.3cms) Rare in the forest. Requires a lower level of pollution compared to the two Physcia sp. pictured above.  27th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Ramalina farinacea on hawthorn twig (4 cms in width) Oval structures along the edges of the branches contain soredia. Photo © Brian Ecott.

25th February 2017.

Punctelia subrudecta [=Parmelia subrudecta] with rounded lobes at the edge. Lobes at centre have soredia.  15th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Ramalina fastigata on hawthorn bush. One prominent round fruiting body is showing. Photo © Brian Ecott. 25th February 2017.

 February flowers  

Spurge laurel Daphne laureola in woodland near Chigwell Row Common.17th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott



Snowdrops Galanthus nivalis.  Old Reservoir site woodland, Hoghill.

17th February 2017. Photos © Michael Rumble

Nature detective  

Grey squirrel poo on a metre high tree stump near the lake, 1st February 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Muntjac poo in woodland near Chigwell Row Common. 17th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


Above: Cherry stones under a log and opened by a Woodmouse. 1st February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Right: Slot of Right hind leg of Muntjac deer. 13th February 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Holly miner

Holly miner grubs are a food sought after in the winter months by the Goldcrest (right), blue and long-tailed tits.  A substantial amount of holly is being removed from the woodland in Chigwell Row. A similar interference by the Woodland Trust who leased the site  in 1999 saw the disappearance of the Nightingale. Does anyone know what species of plant and birdlife is present in the woodland. Does anyone from the Woodland Trust care?

. Mute swan cob 17th February 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Mute swan pen still in her first year plumage.  25th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Batchelor group of mute swans 20th February 2017 Photo © Raymond Small.

January 2017


‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ lottery grant to preserve Hainault Forest Country Park for future generations

Hainault Forest Country Park has been awarded £4.5million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A further £1.25m will be invested by Redbridge Council, with a further £250,000 from Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure. The funding will improve the overall condition of the much-loved woodland, protecting threatened species and habitats and creating a range of new activities, including conservation management, animal husbandry and fruit-harvesting. This is great news - a glance at the following pictures will show what a great place this is, and it's rich biodiversity.

Last sunshine of the old year........
Colin Caron captures the final sunshine of the old year
January Moods............

Grey day at the Lake 1st January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Willows in fog with frozen lake. 23rd January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

January 3rd 2017 and the lake has a thin covering of ice, as the temperatures fall below zero. Pictured here are Canada geese, and Mallard pairs (the drakes have green heads). Photo © Raymond Small.

Crystalline, hoar frost on vegetation. Photo © Michael Trump  22nd January 2017

Full Moon over Romford Road, from New North Road towards Chigwell Row. Photographed from Foxburrow Road. 0625am GMT. 13th January 2017.

Photo © Raymond Small

Full Moon reflection over the Lake. 0714am GMT. 13th January 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Light snowfall on the Golf course 13th January 2017. Photo © Colin Carron

Moon falling down behind Lake at 0730am.GMT. on 13th January 2017 which also shows a light covering of snow which fell the previous evening.
Photo © Raymond Small.

On a cold crisp night the crescent Moon and the planet Venus were close together at 5.29pm GMT 2nd January 2017 in the SW sky. 

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Frozen grassland with the Lake in the distance.  23rd January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Lengthening days...........  

Catkins (male flowers) of Hazel - 12 cm in length, and female flowers - 6 mm. Right are the female flowers enlarged, nd on which the pollen from the catkins will alight. The pollen is dispersed by the wind, and will develop  into Hazelnuts in the autumn. 25th January 2017 in the Hazel copse. Scan © Brian Ecott.



Bracket fungus Chondostereum purpureum on hawthorn behind the café 30th December 2016 and on rotting log near lake 9th Jan '17 Photos © Brian Ecott

Poplar bells Schizophyllum amplum 9th January 2017 on the underside of a rotting branch of Grey poplar near the lake.

Raymond Small made this unusual discovery of Poplar Bells growing on Willow 17th January 2017 by the Lake. Photo © Brian Ecott

Yellow brain fungus Tremella mesenterica on old rose stem. 23rd January '17. Photo © Brian Ecott

Lumpy bracket Trametes gibbosa on cut Hornbeam stump. Cavills walk, Lambourne Wood. 24th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Flat oysterling Crepidotus applanatus on rotting elder log. 1-2cms across. Underside reveals split gills and a rudimentary stem. 3rd January 2017

 Photos © Brian Ecott

Witches butter Exidia glandulosa on oak branch, Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve.  27th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. White  brain Exidia thuretiana is a tiny (1 cm) jelly-like fungus on rotten beech in the woodland behind the café 31st December 2016 © Brian Ecott
White rot Phellinus contiguus spotted on an oak branch by Raymond Small on 19th January 2017. The larger patch was 3cm across.  Thanks  to Tony of NaturePlus at the Natural History Museum for the ID..  Scan © Brian Ecott. The Deceiver Laccaria laccata. In the secondary woodland near the lake. The fibrous stem and the unequal gills help identify this species. 30th January '17. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Bleeding oak crust fungus Stereum gausapatum on oak log. The lower picture shows "blood" exuding from the fungus when cut with a penknife.

Photos © Raymond Small  7th January 2017..


Springy Turf moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus forms large swathes in short grassland on the top and slopes of Hoghill.14th Jan 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Grey cushion moss Grimmia pulvinata on rotting trunk. The spore capsules bend in to the plant. The leaf blade is drawn out into a long hair giving the plant a grey appearance. 6th January 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott Wood bristle moss Orthotrichium affine on tree branch. 16th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
 Scan of thin oak branch showing black fruiting bodies of  Lecidella elaeochroma. The light brown fruiting bodies are  Lecanora chlarotera..
 Raymond has captured the texture and colour of this leafy lichen perfectly. Melanelixia subaurifera [synonym Parmelia subaurifera] is growing with other lichens on an oak branch. 21st January 2017. Photo © Raymond Small. Lichen Hypogymnia physodes on oak branch in plantation area, near the Lake. 25th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
The story of Laetisaria unfolds................

My chance discovery of the pink coloured Laetisaria on the lichen Physcia tenella reported in last January 2016 Diary page and the discovery of a report in an American Journal led to it's confirmation as the first report of it in the UK., thus "Putting Hainault on the Map" .The story is in Academia  under Powell M (2016) British Wildlife.
Nature Detective..........

One of six piles of rose hips hidden under a dog rose bush near the lake. The fact that there is small mammal poo present, the rose hip seeds are open and little of the flesh has been eaten indicates this is a feeding site for a Wood mouse. 14th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

This is a Song thrushes anvil. The thrush brings the snails and smashes the shells on an old green bottle releasing a tasty morsel. This thrush has been collecting Brown-lipped Banded snails. Cepaea nemoralis. The two shells centre and top centre are showing the brown lip. 30th January 2017.              Photo © Brian Ecott

Water fowl................

Tufted ducks, male and female, Several pairs have been present on the lake for a few months now. These are diving ducks. Photos © Colin Caron


Trevor has his own web page now.


What's going on here?


To follow Trevor's adventures  

click here


Three Huskies and one Malamute cross (left) with a Shih-Tzu. Part of a group of Northern breeds which visited on 31st December 2016. © Brian Ecott.
And finally...............

This old gilled fungus face on decaying oak reminded Lynda Johnson of someone. Thanks to her for the location on Cabin Hill.  Possibly old Oak Maze gill Daedalea quercina. Who does it remind you of? 10th Jan 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott